MBC‘s rising K-Drama, My Dearest, achieved a viewership peak of 12.2 percent in its latest episode, a considerable jump from its initial 5.4 percent. However, this success is now being tainted by allegations of plagiarism.
Critics and fans have noticed a plethora of resemblances between My Dearest and the iconic novel, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. This novel — later adapted into an award-winning Hollywood film — seems to be the inspiration for many of the Korean series’ plots and character arcs.
The primary narrative of My Dearest revolves around two lovers set against the backdrop of the Qing invasion of Joseon. Writer Hwang Jin Young has admitted that the epic tale of Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind was an inspiration. However, viewers believe the similarities stretch beyond mere inspiration.
Yoo Gil Chae’s character, the female protagonist, closely mirrors the characteristics and actions of Scarlett O’Hara.
Lee Jang Hyun, the male lead, can easily be seen as Korea’s version of Rhett Butler. Both male characters exhibit an initial resistance to war and display a skeptical outlook on marriage, yet succumb to the allure of their leading ladies.
Other characters from My Dearest also seem to echo those in Mitchell’s novel. The virtuous Nam Yeon Joon parallels Ashley Wilkes, while Kyung Eun Ae and Melanie Hamilton both portray the same essence of wisdom and kindness. This list of comparable characters doesn’t stop here, with even secondary characters reflecting a mirroring personality or storyline according to viewers.
Key plot points in My Dearest also have uncanny resemblances to those in Gone with the Wind. Both stories show protagonists confessing their feelings, only to be rejected and inadvertently witnessed by another. The portrayal of war, its impact on individuals, and specific events during wartime seem to bear remarkable resemblance in both narratives.
Another noteworthy parallel is the transformation of the female protagonists. In both tales, they evolve from being self-centered to showcasing independence and resilience in times of adversity.
Despite these undeniable similarities, a legal battle on copyright grounds seems unlikely. Copyright laws in Korea protect works for 70 years after the original copyright holder’s demise. Since Gone with the Wind was published in 1936 and Mitchell died in 1949, the copyright for the novel has lapsed.
The debate is now centered on the ethics of such close mirroring. While some argue that the drama is merely a Korean adaptation of the classic novel, others believe crediting the inspiration doesn’t absolve it of plagiarism claims.
As anticipation builds for the next episodes of My Dearest, it remains to be seen whether the drama will diverge from its Hollywood counterpart or continue on this controversial trajectory.